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Cyprus

Runway to be built for firefighting aircraft

Aircraft trying to put out the flames in Solea in 2015 (Christos Theodorides)

The cabinet on Wednesday approved the construction of runway in Kokkinotrimithia to be used by firefighting aircraft.

It also approved procurement of new personnel carriers and funds to be used for heightened patrols during the summer season.

Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis, said the runway would serve firefighting aircraft in a bid to “improve our response to fires like the one we had last year in the Solea region.”

The minister played down opposition criticism that no measures had been put in place after the fire.

“We have adopted quite a lot,” he said.

Kouyialis added that this and the next year’s budgets were higher as regards firefighting.

“Since 2016, we started modernising our fleet of firefighting vehicles and at the same time we are gradually adopting these measures,” he said.

Last year’s fire in Solea, which started on June 19 and burned for four days before it was put under control, resulted in the death of two firefighters and the destruction of some 18 square kilometres of pine forest.

Recriminations raged in its aftermath, as the opposition charged that the government had left fire-fighting units without personnel in a bid to save money.

 

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